A Powerful Witness by Wenger

shoes offIn my last blog I disclosed that I had taken off my shoes and walked into my inner sanctuary and changed the Bible’s place in determining my core beliefs.  I no longer regard biblical data as factual, yet I do find gems of wisdom, truth and beauty midst the clutter of inaccuracies. Some Christians who live in small communities value hard work so much, that they twist the bible rule from

any one who is unwilling to work shall not eat

into support for a political position which means that

anyone without a job should not receive government assistance.


Angry shouts will not help!

In the past the bible was used to support the idea that the earth is flat, that slavery and patriarchy is God’s will. Now the bible is used to deny ministers the right to unite believers with same sex orientation into holy matrimony.

The most recent victim of abuse is a well known and respected church leader  of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference.  He has offered the church a defense and explanation of his actions in an open letter to the church. If you are not yet among the more than 68.000 readers of Wenger’s letter you may join them here.  No matter what your view of homosexuality the compassionate letter from this 96 year old brother is well worth your reading.

I read Chester’s letter as a plea for unity which is consistent with the prayer of Jesus in John 17.  There Jesus is reported as translated in the KJV to have prayed:  ” 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” The logic of this prayer is that division weakens the witness of the church for Jesus.



I’ve read the comments of readers to the Wenger open letter. I comment on only two of them. One describes the letter as heresy. The other says: “Having found this “open letter” to be thought-provoking; I intend to prayerfully examine my own position on this topic in the days and weeks ahead. Thank you Chester for framing the question in such an authentic context.”

This summer My Joy and I visited Chester and Sarah Jane Wenger in Lancaster County,Pa. I wanted to see them because I had heard some rumors in Goshen about happenings related to the Wengers.  We were privileged to hear their story from their own hearts and lips.  I wrote of that visit and you may find it by clicking here. I did not attempt to tell their story. It is their story, and they have told it well.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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4 Responses to A Powerful Witness by Wenger

  1. Carroll Lehman says:

    Martin, you are amazing, also. I tell you, again, my admiration for your continued seeking of what faith is and what faith means. I see in some of the replies to Wenger’s letter that the word “truth” is tossed around. I don’t mean to state the obvious, but what is “truth”? Certainly in regards to religion, there are no facts,(truths), so it is all about “belief”, “trust”, “faith”. I “believe”, I “trust” that Jesus was a great spiritual leader and that his way of living in this world, as recounted in the Scriptures, is a good way. But, I can’t have “Blessed Assurance” that that is true.

  2. Carl Metzler says:

    Thank you, Martin, for calling my attention to the Chester & Sarah Wenger letter. I had not yet visited the new web site of The Mennonite (to my loss, I would add). As to the Wenger letter: From time to time in my Sunday School class I have asked why, in the past 2000 years, we have had no addition to ‘the Inspired Word of God’? I consider this prophetic word from the Wengers to be ‘Scripture’. Thanks to Chester and Sarah, and may God bless.

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